Located in northern Spain, at the foot of the Pyrenees Mountains, Somontano has been a Spanish Designation of Origin (DO) since 1984. The principal wine town is Barbastro, with most of the 15 or so wineries located in the surrounding countryside.
The production area of the Somontano Designation of Origin is made up of three different zones: the ranges, the Somontano itself, and the plains. Its total area covers over 200,000 hectares, of which 100,000 are cultivated, and over 4,400 hectares of these with vineyards.
Grapes belonging to the DO include traditional local varieties, such as Moristell and Parraleta as well as other Spanish and foreign varieties including Tempranillo, Cabernet Sauvignon, Chardonnay and Gewürztraminer.
The Ruta del Vino (Wine Route) of Somontano is one of the 13 official wine routes recognised by the Spanish government and is a very useful tool when visiting the area. We did note, however, that when visiting some of the cellar doors they are only staffed by one person, meaning that if they also have a tour scheduled then they usually close the wine shop to tastings whilst the tour is completed. We encountered this on a couple of occasions, which can be problematic if you only have limited time available.
While in Somontano, make sure to leave some time to drive around the surrounding area and take in the beautiful vineyard views with backdrops of mountains and historical architecture and be sure to drop into the stunning village of Alquézar.
We stayed in Hotel Monzon, which is well located for visiting the surrounding wineries, did a great value weekday lunch (be it late in the day) and has a good supermarket next door (in case you don't want to wait until Spanish dinner time of 9pm (at the earliest!!!)).
With documentation of significant wine production in this area dating back to the 2nd century BC, there is certainly a wealth of wine history in this region and, now coupled with some very modern wineries and large architecturally designed cellar doors, there are a great range of experiences to be had in this region.